A day after U.S. forces completed its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, refugees board a bus taking them to a processing center upon their arrival at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, U.S.,  September 1, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Afghans seeking entry to U.S. face backlog, legal aid groups say

(Reuters) – About 26,000 functions from Afghan nationals seeking entry to america underneath a particular program are awaiting evaluate at an company of the Division of Homeland Safety, which has granted about 100 of them during the last 4 and a half months, in accordance to the company and legal aid groups.

Humanitarian parole sometimes permits non-citizens to enter the U.S. for not than a 12 months and is often used for individuals who want pressing medical care or to go to a sick relative. So as to keep within the U.S., recipients should apply for asylum or one other extra everlasting immigration standing.

In a letter to Biden administration officers despatched Oct. 20, greater than 100 legal aid groups, legislation corporations and legislation faculty clinics mentioned they anticipate submitting no less than 30,000 humanitarian parole functions with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Providers on behalf of Afghans hoping to go away the nation.

The aid groups mentioned they turned to humanitarian parole due to considerations that different choices to enter the U.S. together with visas or refugee processing may take years.

USCIS spokesperson Victoria Palmer mentioned the company has been reviewing functions as they arrive in. In a typical 12 months, USCIS receives fewer than 2,000 functions underneath the parole program, and has granted roughly 500 a 12 months during the last three years, Palmer mentioned.

Palmer mentioned the company usually handles most functions in about 90 days, which suggests many are nonetheless inside that timeline. Palmer mentioned the surge in functions is probably going to lengthen the evaluate course of, though she did not specify how lengthy.

1000’s of individuals have sought to get out of Afghanistan following the exit of U.S. forces, which formally withdrew on Aug. 31. The White Home’s Nationwide Safety Council mentioned it has already airlifted 73,000 Afghans to the U.S. These individuals are being resettled within the U.S., with some receiving humanitarian parole after they arrived and others utilizing visas or different routes to keep.

Because it evaluations functions, USCIS has mentioned it would prioritize Afghans who’ve already left their dwelling nation over these nonetheless in Afghanistan, as a result of individuals exterior of Afghanistan can endure background checks at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Groups equivalent to Oakland, California-based Undertaking ANAR, or Afghan Community for Advocacy and Sources, say humanitarian parole is one of the best – or solely – possibility for lots of the Afghans they’re in touch with. Laila Ayub, an immigration legal professional for Undertaking ANAR, says her group has filed no less than 500 functions underneath this system since August, however has but to obtain a call on any.

USCIS says it has skilled an extra 44 individuals to course of the functions, a rise of “nearly five-fold,” in accordance to Palmer. The staff reviewing the functions was initially simply six individuals, in accordance to Ayub.

Humanitarian parole functions are costly and onerous to put collectively. Every requires a $575 payment, the recruitment of a monetary sponsor and intensive documentation of what hazard the applicant is in, in accordance to Jennie Guilfoyle, who’s main Austin, Texas-based immigration legal group VECINA’s efforts in Afghanistan. The legal aid groups’ Oct. 20 letter mentioned they’d raised about $350,000 to assist pay the submitting charges.

USCIS “think[s] the cases will move more quickly for people outside of Afghanistan,” Guilfoyle mentioned. “It nonetheless does not handle the large downside, the individuals in Afghanistan in severe danger of hurt.”

Source link